The nations of the BRICS group continue to extend the hand of economic collaboration around the world; here we highlight a couple of developments over the weekend from China and India.
China Investing in Mexican Infrastructure Projects
Chinese construction, rail, and related companies are investing in key projects in what is being called Mexico’s Economic Corridor of the North, involving the states of Nayarit on the Pacific coast and Chihuahua which borders the U.S.
During last year’s visit to Mexico by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the two governments signed a Comprehensive Strategic Alliance, and China is looking at a number of investment possibilities, including plans to invest $35 billion in Mexico’s energy sector, El Universal reported Aug. 8.
Two major projects are about to get underway shortly, thanks to the organizing of Roberto Sandoval, Governor of Nayarit, and Cesar Duarte, Governor of Chihuahua. One is a new deep-water port in Nayarit, and the other, a rail link from that port, through Chihuahua and into the U.S. state of New Mexico, with its terminus at the Santa Teresa port of entry.
Sandoval and Duarte were in China in late July and early August to secure financing for what Sandoval calls the “China-Nayarit-Chihuahua-U.S.” development corridor. While these are private projects, the Mexican government must grant authorization for them to proceed. It should also be noted that the Chinese involvement in the construction of an inter-oceanic canal through Nicaragua is also technically a private sector project, run through the Chinese company HKND.
Gov. Duarte announced Sept. 5 that China’s ambassador to Mexico, Qiu Xiaoqi, had notified him that the Development Bank of China will provide $1 billion to finance the Nayarit-Chihuahua- New Mexico rail project. Railroad construction company, China Hyway Group, Ltd., owned by the Development Bank, will partner with other Chinese firms and begin construction before the end of this year.
Gov. Sandoval, who has made repeated trips to China, announced in late May that several large Chinese private-sector companies will invest $3.5 billion to build “Puerto Nayarit” over the next three years which, when completed, will be the largest deep-water port in Ibero-America. It is expected to generate 25,000 jobs in the state and spark a major economic boom, as well. The port will be the only one in North and Central America able to dock large container-bearing ships.
According to http://www.nayarit.gob.mx, in three months Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Chinese President Xi Jinping will lay the first stones of what will be “the first project of the Mexico-China Alliance.”
Iran’s Chahbahar Port Is a Key Link to India-Iran-Russia Sea-Land Corridor
India has earmarked $100 million for the development of Chabahar port in Iran, between Karachi and Bandar Abbas, in order to improve trade with Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries, Afghan envoy to India Shaida Mohammad Abdali said on Sunday. Ultimately, the port connects Central Asia with South Asia. “And we have in-principle agreed. The draft has been circulated, and India has already pledged $100 million for upgrading the port,” Abdali told PTI.
The tripartite agreement between Afghanistan, India, and Iran, signed more than a decade ago, to connect Afghanistan to India via this route, will provide India an alternative route for trade with Afghanistan, an official of the Federation of Indian Exports Organizations had said earlier. There are efforts afoot to finalize the project, said an Afghan official, adding a next tripartite meeting among Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia is expected to be held to open another project on the establishment of the transit route to connect Afghanistan to the Black Sea.
India, within the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), is really interested to use Afghanistan’s position in the war on terror and drugs, and the SAARC is also trying to use India against both phenomena, said lecturer at Kabul University, Sayed Massoud. According to him, the route hoped to be constructed through efforts of the country’s Ministry of Commerce and Industries will become a good alternative to neighboring Pakistan, which does not allow Afghan trade with India overland. A number of Afghan traders also complained about Pakistan’s failure to honor its commitments to Afghanistan, although both countries are members of the SAARC and are linked to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).